On the 30th January 2017, Peter Capaldi announced that Series 10 of Doctor Who will be his last. He will depart alongside show runner Steven Moffat in the Christmas special. Of course this now means that any mention of Doctor Who in 2017 comes along with the ‘Next Doctor’ baggage.
Let us imagine this baggage is just a small briefcase. On the outside it’s quite simple, unassuming and no different to any other briefcase. However if you open it up you’ll find it’s filled with mountains of speculation, endlessly outrageous ideas and a shop full of different realities. You could say the briefcase is bigger on the inside. I’ll admit, although irritating, the speculation can be enthralling when using a pinch of realism.
One of the more realistic debates over the recent years is if The Doctor should become a woman at some stage? Even when it does eventually happen, it’s a debate that will never end. The debate goes back a while, but has been given fuel most recently by The Master’s transformation into Michelle Gomez’s Missy and the General’s gender and ethnicity swap during Heaven Sent (Series 9).
When it comes to this topic, I’m that annoying individual who’s on the fence. I and other Doctor Who fans are a weird bunch, because we’re generally not comfortable with change. Which is rather ridiculous considering the age-old premise of The Doctor changing his face. Personally I do normally find it difficult adapting to the new actor. However I’m interested – while also terrified – to find out how I react to The Doctor if he becomes a she. You can’t deny the gender change has the potential to dramatically change the tone and direction of the show. It’s a huge risk for the BBC. However it’s also a risk that could potentially pay off massively. The welcome change of pace could reinvigorate the show and may even boost the viewer count back to its very best. But if they were to decide on a woman, I’d like it to be for the right reasons. Not just for publicity or to suit an agenda – but because it would be good for the show, the fans, and the actress chosen for the benevolent role.
Although, currently out of all the actresses being mentioned, the only one I’d be excited to potentially see as The Doctor is Ruth Wilson. I think she’d suit the role, but she still seems somewhat unlikely as a choice. There’s no denying her performance as Alice Morgan in Luther is outstanding. Moreover she’s got the perfect aura of quirky, fun, ruthless and dangerous about her. If the BBC does choose a female Doctor, she would be my top choice. I also like the idea of Tim Roth taking on the role. He’s a proven British actor who I believe could hit both ends of the emotional spectrum. To be honest this opinion stems from my love for the 9th Doctor era and I believe Roth could deliver that kind of performance. Again, I’m shooting in the dark and I probably wouldn’t put money on it. There are plenty of names being thrown around, other examples include the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Ben Whishaw (the bookies’ current favourite).
Still, many are calling for a change to the system and Chris Chibnall, the new show runner, may be feeling under pressure to drastically change things up when he takes over. Although keeping business as usual would be very easy for Chibnall, my gut tells me he could risk the show’s integrity if he doesn’t change the formula in some way. There are so many factors to consider and I’m still concerned they’ll change the formula so much it barely feels like Doctor Who anymore. I hope they’re not pushed so much by the marketing that they’ll take every opportunity to remind me The Doctor is now a women. They’ll need to be incredibly clever about it and not trip themselves up on needless cliques or pointless quips about nipples.
But here we are, still holding that speculation briefcase. We’re going to be holding it for a while, especially since the choice comes down to Chibnall and he hasn’t even begun to work on Series 11 (set for a late 2018 release). Plus we’ve still yet to see Capaldi’s final outings. Hopefully it will continue from the strengths of the previous series and send the 12th Doctor off with a bang. Capaldi has been an awesome Doctor, and will continue to be until Christmas. In terms of who will be the next Doctor? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Who do you think the next Doctor will be? Tweet us @Sonar_Magazine and give us your ideas for the next travelling Time Lord!
By Robert Anderson